Sunday, 4 March 2012

Vintage Recipe Swap: Little Caramelised Onion & Cheddar Pizzas

I know my photo isn't too appealing - but these really do taste amazing!

It has been a hectic but fun couple of weeks with work and home being very busy places!  Cammy has his first tooth, Anna is potty training and we’ve had visits from Uncle Malc, Granny and Pampa and my wee brother turned 30 – this makes me feel old!  I have also managed to visit a restaurant I have been dying to visit for ages where my favourite thing was the haggis spring rolls my husband ordered – yum! I’ve been busy on the baking front too and have had a bit on a Nigella fest – I can thoroughly recommend her Chocolate Guinness and Bounty cakes!
Work wise, things are really busy and I must admit to really enjoying being back.  The crisis in Syria has been keeping my colleagues busy and in here in Aberdeen, North Africa and Nigeria have been key areas of interest for my clients.  To see some of what I’ve been up to have a look here.
I had some very exciting news from a good family friend and former colleague who now lives out in Kabul.  He is part of a supper club out there they affectionately (and fabulously) term the “Mujahidinner” and he won with an Afghan-acceptable version of my Lentil Soup with Pumpkin Scones (i.e. switching the ham for chicken).  I am so glad he emailed to tell me, his stories always make me laugh, but this made my week – thank you JMH!
This is the first month that the monthly recipe swap I participate in has split into two groups, one posting on a Sunday and another on a Wednesday.  Along with my fellow Sunday posting pals, this month’s recipe for the Burwell General Store Vintage Recipe Swap is one of my favourites (and that of my girls)  – PIZZA!  So I encourage you to read all the lovely recipes on both days and hosted at
The original recipe is from the The Second Ford Treasury of Favourite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”.

My recipe this week is sooo simple, and inspired by one of my favourite snacks of recent weeks, involving oat cakes, strong Scottish cheddar and my mums red onion marmalade – mmmmm!

This recipe makes about 8-10 individual pizzas (I would serve two for adults and one for children).
Pizza Base
Everyone has there own recipe for pizza dough, but this is a simple one from a very useful recipe book I bought not long after I was married, the “Good Housekeeping 1001 Recipes for Every Occasion”.
350g 00 Flour (+ extra to dust)
1 Teaspoon Salt
7g Sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Tomato Sauce (enough for your pizza’s and to make a pasta sauce later in the week)
1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Fresh Basil
2 Large Red Onions
Worcester sauce
10 Teaspoons Light Brown Sugar
White Pepper
Strong Scottish Cheddar – grated) – enough for a scant handful per pizza (I used the local Devenick Dairy’s Granite City Cheddar)
Sour Cream and Fresh Basil to Garnish
For the tomato sauce, blend together the tomatoes, the garlic, basil and olive oil.  I usually do this earlier in the day and keep it covered in the fridge for the flavours to infuse.   You obviously don’t have to do this and as it is so simple, you can easily do this while to dough is rising.
For the dough, simply mix together the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, add the olive oil and 200ml of warm water and mix together with your hands until it forms a soft and sticky ball.  Cover in the bowl and leave to rise for about half and hour.
While this is happening, caramelise your onions.   Preheat your oven to about 200 oC ( 180 oC  Fan). Peel and slice your onions into about half centimetre rings (they look so pretty this way!).  Arrange them on a large baking sheet lined with baking paper.  Sprinkle a teaspoon of the soft brown sugar on each, add a couple of drops of Worcester sauce to each and sprinkle with pepper.   Place in the oven for 15 minutes (although keep your eye on them – you don’t want them to burn). 
When you remove the onions from the oven, turn it up by 20 oC in preparation for your pizzas and line a couple of baking sheets with some baking paper.
Once your dough has risen turn it out onto a floured surface and punch down.  Flatten it out quite thinly with your hands and cut out your pizzas with a large round cutter (mine is about 10cm across).
Spread a good dessert spoon of the tomato sauce on each of the bases and then top with a scant handful of the cheese. Carefully place one of your caramelised onion circles on each of the pizza’s.  Transfer to the baking sheets and place in the oven for around 15 minutes (again keep an eye on them).
Serve with a dollop on sour cream on the top and sprinkle with some torn basil leaves.


  1. I always love reading your posts Claire! They are so full of tales of your rich life as a mom, coworker and international citizen. You bring so much to the table and I love to soak it in!

    Your pizza dish looks delicious and who cares how simple it is?! Aren't those often the best loved and most coveted dishes for those of us landing at dinner time, mouths to feed and drawing a complete blank? You've reminded me how much I love carmelized onions and how long it has been since I've added them to anything; thank you. That and the vision of Haggis Spring Rolls: too much! Sleep tight my friend. Another swap coupe for you.

  2. This sounds simple and delicious both. Congrats on the recipe win!!! That is exciting news and it should rightfully have made your week!

  3. Oh, is there anything better in this world than caramelized onions? What a great idea for a pizza topping. This looks delicious!

  4. Simplicity is king, never apologize for that. My new mantra is to create more simple recipes. Your blogs are abundant with information, much like a diary. Thanks for sharing with us all. Another great Recipe Swap!

  5. Wonderful recipe swap - I'm always so keen to read your recipes and hear all your stories that mold their way into your post (because we all have a life outside of blogging). Thanks again,
    Shari from

  6. What a great post! I tried to click to the link about your work and for some reason it didn't work. Hmm.

    What an exciting week, between first teeth and potty training and birthdays and visiting relatives and your work. Sounds like the recipe was indeed perfect for the time - and darn it looks yummy!

    Cheers to your family and a lovely first split swap!

  7. Cute! I always think of mini pizzas as being sort of a kid food, which isn't a bad thing at all. These are grown-up mini pizzas! I especially love the caramelized onions - they're one of my favorite pizza toppings.

  8. Wow - that looks delicious, but the caramelized onion and sour cream just send it over the top...yum!

  9. Besidesnthe gorgeous recipe, I love getting your letter. thanks for keeping us in th loop.

  10. Such cuuuuute little mini pizzas! I love this idea, and love the recipe.

  11. I am a fan of small food items. I think they are more fun to eat!

    Good luck with the potty training - that can be a tough one. (at least at our house... :)

  12. Wow I am loving this recipe. Anything caramelized is right up my alley. Scottish cheddar. I gotta try and find that.

  13. You can put caramelized onions on anything and I'll eat it, I love the things!


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